Long before her arrest in Vancouver triggered a diplomatic standoff, Meng Wanzhou was simply a tourist who fell in love with the city.
As a 2019 BBC report related, Meng’s “main home may be in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, but the 46-year-old, Huawei's chief financial officer, has been visiting Vancouver for 15 years”.
That’s far back as 2004, and about five years later, Meng’s husband Liu Xiaozong bought the first of two homes by the family.
Based on tracking by real-estate site Redfin, the then newly built Dunbar residence at 4005 West 28th Avenue was bought for $2,738,000 in October 2009.
“Some of her four children—three sons and a daughter—were educated in Vancouver,” the BBC reported in 2019.
Meanwhile, her husband Liu “worked on a master's degree here”.
“While her children were at school in the city, the grey house became Ms Meng's main home,” the BBC reported, referring to 4005 West 28th Avenue.
“At one point, she became a permanent resident of Canada, a status since relinquished,” the news outfit recalled.
Vancouver certainly made another home for the family.
“Her extended family, including her in-laws, were regular visitors,” the BBC reported.
“The family also made a good impression with at least some local residents, to whom Ms Meng is known as Cathy or Sabrina,” the news agency related.
“Her husband, who describes himself as a self-employed venture capitalist, goes by the name Carlos.”
Also in 2019, Vancouver journalist Bob Mackin reported on his The Breaker site that Meng’s husband Liu bought a second home for the family in 2016.
That’s 1603 Matthews Avenue, the Shaughnessy mansion where Meng stayed while she was on house arrest and fighting extradition to the U.S.
Redfin tracking indicates that the property was bought for $15 million in May 2016.
“Meng’s name was not reported to the land title office,” Mackin reported in 2019.
Moreover, “The property was mortgaged with HSBC, the same bank that the U.S. now accuses Meng of defrauding to overcome trade sanctions with Iran.
“Meng—who also goes by Sabrina or Cathy—came to Vancouver 16 years ago and has a 10-year-old daughter with Liu,” Mackin also reported.
Meng was arrested at the Vancouver International Airport in December 2018.
The U.S. wanted her extradited on charges that she misled HSBC over the true nature of Huawei's relationship with a company called Skycom.
Skycom was doing business in Iran, a country subject to American sanctions.
After nearly three years on detention, Meng was freed September 24 after a deal was struck with the U.S. government.
Meng returned to a hero’s welcome in China on September 25.
The family’s Dunbar home at 4005 West 28th Avenue has a 2021 assessed value $4,555,000.
Meanwhile, 1603 Matthews Avenue has a 2021 assessment of $13,654,000.
The Straight asked Vancouver realtor Tom Choy for his opinion on how the two properties may likely fare should these be placed on the market.
Choy, an associate broker with Royal Pacific Realty, agreed that Meng’s association with the two homes may appeal to some buyers.
However, Choy doubts whether the history of the two homes will either enhance or reduce the value of the properties.